Final Fantasy VI Grand Finale

  • "Far from a perfect Final Fantasy VI arranged soundtrack, but worth the attention of open-minded fans."
Editor's review

Featured Artists

Tracks (54 minutes)

  1. Opening Theme~Tina listen
  2. Cefca
  3. The Mystic Forest listen
  4. Gau
  5. Milan de Chocobo
  6. Troops March On
  7. Kids Run Through The City Corner listen
  8. Blackjack
  9. Relm
  10. Mistery Train listen
  11. Aria Di Mezzo Carattere listen

Release Notes

  • Released May 25, 1994 by Squaresoft (catalog no. PSCN-5004, retail 3000 yen).

Reviews

Far from a perfect Final Fantasy VI arranged soundtrack, but worth the attention of open-minded fans.

Editor's review by Adam Corn

Final Fantasy VI Grand Finale holds the distinction of being based on what many (including myself) consider the greatest original game soundtrack yet created. Not coincidentally it was also my very first arranged game soundtrack. So the album came with high expectations, and though rarely does it live up to them, it's still a respectable orchestral effort that fans should consider - with an open mind towards some artistic changes.

About half of the arrangements I find comparable in sound and quality to the classic original soundtrack. "The Mystic Forest", "Troops March On" and "Kids Run Through The City Corner" follow their original game versions closely and sound great with real orchestral instruments. "Cefca" has more noticeable changes, but these follow the spirit of the OSV closely. The highlight of the album, "Opening Theme ~ Tina", adapts the original's instrumentation to orchestra perfectly, while adding some very dramatic original material of its own. (Note that both it and "The Mystic Forest" are completely different, more ambitious arrangements than the more recent ones from the Distant Worlds series.)

The changes in several other tracks, however, will likely be hard for all but the most opening-minded FFVI fans to accept. The most perplexing is "Relm", an almost perfect rendition ruined by blaring, abrasive lead bagpipes that completely contrast the character and her original theme. "Gau" is a nicely done arrangement, but in losing the original's lead cello in favor of Baroque violins and harpsichord, it also loses the original's poignancy. "Mistery Train" is another admirable artistic effort, but the arrangement's frantic violin-piano duo completely foregoes the spooky charm of the original.

I have to credit the arrangers for having artistic vision when embellishing these compositions. I remember when I first got the album, listening intently to tracks like "Opening Theme ~ Tina" and imagining my own Final Fantasy VI movie as the music progressed. Fond memories, to be sure. Yet for every track that amplifies the narrative and dramatic quality of the original music, there's another that seems to disregard it altogether. The results are too mixed to consider the album an ideal Final Fantasy VI arranged collection, but it's still an admirable artistic effort that fulfills its potential often enough to make it worth consideration.

3 1/2 starsCautiously Recommended

A varied orchestral take on the music from a great game.

Reader review by John Faulconbridge (2000-12-31)

Back in '96, I, as most of you, played and was enthralled by the masterpiece that is Final Fantasy VI. The one thing that stuck out in my mind was the quality of the music. Now, four years later, I have had the opportunity to enjoy the orchestrated version of the music.

The music on this disc falls into five different categories: standard orchestral fare, chamber music, Henry Mancini, violin solo, and opera. The majority of the disc is standard orchestra, and these are the tracks that most everyone enjoys, with the exception of Relm's theme. Well, I suggest you take a listen to this version of the theme again, look past the bagpipes and hear the influence of our friend Johnny Williams on this. I almost expect the piano solo from E.T. to come soaring through during the bridge part. Now, not to bash this or anything, but, yes, the bagpipe is annoying.

Two of the tracks are chamber music. "Gau" and "Kids Run Through the City Corner" both have the same small string quintet and harpsichord feel, and they sound like a tribute to the music of Handel (or any baroque string music for that matter).

Now, I know that some of you don't like what they did to the Chocobo theme song, but I get the feeling that Nobuo was going for a Henry Mancini sound, making this more a "Baby Chocobo Walk"... incidentally, the closing notes the oboe plays at the end of "Blackjack", another song greatly influenced by Mancini, is actually taken straight from his "Baby Elephant Walk". While the opera track is the one most familiar to listeners of this album, I feel that the "Mystery Train" violin solo is the best on the album. The hurried piano accompaniment and the almost frantic violin line give a wonderful highlight to this great CD.

The classic OSV - wonderfully arranged for orchestra!

Reader review by Eric Steffens

Out of all the OSVs I have, Final Fantasy VI's has to be one of my all-time favorites. Putting this OSV on a such a pedestal has made me very critical of any arrangements of my beloved themes. Grand Finale begins with an explosive rendition of the "Opening Theme" and then beautifully goes into Tina's (Terra's) theme. Unlike some CDs the instrumention is very professionally done. The solo flute in Tina's theme has almost put me to tears for the sheer beauty. The strings and trumpet on "Cefka" keep that "evil vaudville" feel to the music. And who can not shudder at the powerful percussion in "Troops Move On". The "Aria" which closes the disc is very well done. And it's so cool to hear the Latin words match so well with the music and from what we remember from that scene in the game. All in all, I like the disc alot. Some of the arrangements are unusual and may take a little getting used to. If there is one reason to get the disc, get it for the "Opening Theme"!

Listen with an open mind - you'll like what you hear.

Reader review by Kevin Murphy

I think this is one of the better game music CD's I have purchased, and I think that it has gotten a rather bad rap. I can understand the bad rap though. Anyone could ask me, "How could you defend this? Listen to Relm's Theme and tell me that you like it!" Well, I do like everything but those bagpipes. So why are the bagpipes in there? Simple. It's meant to sound as close to the OSV as possible, and it does. Don't believe me? Well, I never liked the "instrument" in the OSV version of Relm's theme that sounded just like those bagpipes!! Listen for yourself.

I have also heard, "I don't like the Mystery Train because it has lost its waltzy feeling." Indeed it has. And, "The Chocobo theme is just plain boring." It is. But let's take a closer look and analyze a little bit here. With the Chocobo theme, they wanted to experiment and arrange something. Kind of "the melancholy Chocobo." I agree, the experiment failed. But I don't see how anyone cannot like "The Mystery Train"! This arrangement is chamber music, which is a rarity outside of the Ys series. Secondly, it is an *extremely* difficult piece. It's a miracle that the violinist and pianist can even keep up with each other. I urge all of you to listen to this one again. It's my favorite piece on the album.

Kefka's vaudevillian arrangement works perfectly. And of course, it has been stated that the album is worth getting just for the opening theme. As an aside, for anyone who liked the last track on the CD, do yourself a favor and get Orchestral Game Concert 4. As opposed to Grand Finale's shorter harpsichord-heavy opera track, OGC 4 has the *whole* Opera (all 23 minutes worth) with three different singers.

One thing that I want everyone to keep in mind is that with many Final Fantasy arranged compilations, there is the straight arrangement of the OSV, and then the different style. Keep that in mind while listening to this, and because you understand it more, you will probably have an enriched listening experience.

They should get a clue from Symphonic Suite.

Reader review by Aaron Lau

I'll keep this short.There are some great songs to be found here (as if there wouldn't). "Tina" is by far the best one here. "Cefca" is actually pretty good too, along with "Gau". The rest of the songs I didn't find much interest in. Grand Finale is a full orchestra performance, and it's done extremely well. The only thing wrong with it is that it's as boring as hell (!). I'm sure many will disagree with me, as it is Final Fantasy. It's just that there's too much filler. The songs get very inane, and this arranged soundtrack never keeps enough interest as the original did.

Great but still disappointing.

Reader review by John Lau

Final Fantasy VI - Grand Finale is a great disc. I am sure of that, but, it's a bit disappointing. The songs do not match the game from time to time. I don't really like that. The only songs that I considered enjoyable are the opening and "Troops March On". The others were okay, but not excellent. I have nothing better to say than this disc has its excellent points, but it has its weak points. I would say that 3000 yen was a tad too steep for this CD. I recommend it to anybody, but I'm not sure if everybody is willing to put out that much money for just a couple of excellent songs. All in all, it is a great disc, but I expected more.

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